Proposed streets where bike lanes could go in downtown Medford.

Business owners have mixed feelings about proposed bike lanes in downtown Medford

MEDFORD, Ore. – The City of Medford is proposing a stand alone bike lane in several parts of the downtown area.

But some business owners tell us they have mixed feelings.

The city is looking for public input on adding several bike lanes through much of the downtown core.

Some people believe it can help the area others worry it’s going to make the streets more congested.

“Anything they can do to improve the streets downtown here without impeding the flow of traffic would be great,” Julie O’Brien of The RetroWormhole said.

Improving the traffic downtown is a hot topic for many business owners. 

The City of Medford is proposing new bike lanes downtown in order to improve walking, biking and rolling access.

Currently there are no dedicated bike lanes in the downtown area.

The plan is to convert one of the lanes only in the three lane areas on parts of main street and the Route-99 corridor, which includes Riverside, Central and Court street.

“The bottom line is, if we’re going to add bike lanes, there is not current room to add a bike lane with existing traveling,” Medford director of public works John Vial said. “So the only way you could do that is you’d have to drop a lane in some areas or remove parking. Removing parking in the downtown area is one of our last choices.”

Vial added the proposal is part of a routine resurfacing project expected to start next summer.

However, many local business owners and residents tell us they aren’t thrilled.

They worry about the potential congestion of going down to two lanes, if there’s enough bike activity downtown and a growing homeless problem.

The city is now looking at the potential impacts.

“The study we have going on right now is going to look at the different alternatives and for each of the alternatives we’re going to study the traffic impacts,” Vial said. “It might be a case that a preferred alternative ends up having traffic impacts that are too great, so we can’t do it.”

The city is hoping to hear from the public first.

One business said if it drives more foot traffic downtown, they’d love it.

“We’re just learning about the plan, we’re excited to learn more,” O’Brien said. “But anything that can create a safer environment and bring more people downtown, we’re in support of that.”

Medford has a virtual open house between now and August 30th, where residents can go to the city’s website to give their input on the project.

It also has a dedicated page for you to see more of what it could like, maps and much more.

If you’d like to take part of the open house, you can click HERE.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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